The world witnessed its share of sadness in 2014. The cycle of senseless violence made us question our selves and our place in the world. Now, the start of a new year brings the promise of a new leaf. But the world isn’t cooperating. These past weeks have seen a violent attack in France, continued turmoil in the Middle East, and civil war in Eastern Europe. Misunderstanding blinds us to the right course of action, and stops us from peacefully seeking the route to understanding.
At the Over My Shoulder Foundation, we have been searching for a way to make a positive impact, however modest. So in 2015, we’re going to Mentor Peace.
We mentor peace by opening our minds to new concepts. We mentor peace by fighting ignorance with education. Above all, we mentor peace by treating every person with care and respect we would show to a member of our families. Over the past few weeks, I interviewed a number of magnificent young people, from all corners of the globe, asking a simple question: “How will you mentor peace in 2015? What do you hope for in your country regarding peace?”
Fahad, Age 23, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
“I want to mentor peace by showing that world that regardless of what they see on the media, there are good people in all corners of the country.”
Kylie, Age 22, Ferguson, Missouri
“I will mentor peace by showing people that people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their character. I will do this by showing the world how successful people of color can be, regardless of stereotype.”
Lucy, Age 19, Paris, France
“I want to mentor peace by showing the world that together, non violent acts of protest can speak to millions in silence.”
Fatima, Age 25, Islamabad, Pakistan
“I want to show the world that violence is never right. I want to show the world that people who are violent will not win. The only way to fight violence is with peace. The only way to remember the lives of the innocent is with positivity. I want the world to know that the lives of the innocent children killed in my country will always be remembered. I will be peaceful for them.”
Mira, Age 22, Beirut, Lebanon
“My wish for peace in 2015 is for my country to see the beauty in all people. God has given us the ability to live in a beautiful country. We must also show that beauty through our actions.”
Mohammad, Age 29, United Arab Emirates
“I want to mentor peace by telling people to love all religions and respect everyone’s belief. We can do this by educating and really listening to each others point of view respectfully. Didn’t our prophets do the same?”
Tyrese, Age 8, Boston, Massachusetts
“I want to mentor peace by showing my friends books about all different cultures. This way, we can all be friends and get along.”
Martin, Age 26, Dublin, Ireland
“I want peace to be mentored through every step I take. I want peace to be mentored through the kind words I speak to people. I want peace to be mentored through politicians, because people pay attention when people in power practice peace.”
Miranda, London, UK
“I love people of all race religions and backgrounds. I want to take my knowledge and spread it like wildfire —that underneath our skin we are all the same!”
Carlo, Madrid, Spain
“I want the people of my country to have empathy on those who are poor, and mentor them into better health. I want to mentor and inspire people to help the less fortunate.”
Bahir, Damascus, Syria
“I want to mentor the world. I want to tell people; My country is beautiful. Even under violence, we still dance and love. If we can mentor dancing and love through hard times, we can help anyone get through a hard time.”
Let us mentor the world with powerful actions, showing that peace is greater than hatred and violence. Let us mentor society by demonstrating that peace can be found everywhere on earth. Let us mentor each other on the path to peace.
OMSF team member Marissa Ranahan is a student at the University of Hartford and hopes to pursue a career in writing.